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Most Recent Coronavirus Information

By: Bill Festa on in  | 

PAR continues to work to get answers for Realtors® as we receive coronavirus business restriction updates, but we wanted to make you aware of information issued yesterday.

Discussions with the governor’s office continue, but have thus far not resulted in industry-wide waivers for real estate practice. In his Sunday address, Gov. Wolf did say companies could apply for a waiver if they believe their business was incorrectly classified as not being life-sustaining.

Many questions have been raised about whether settlement companies can proceed, and if so, under what circumstances. Some have interpreted the guidance from the governor, especially as it relates to credit intermediaries and insurance agencies, to mean they can continue to do business. This could result in many of you seeing different practices being used across the state. You should contact your title company to determine whether they will do business in the days ahead.

It should be noted that PAR and the Pennsylvania Land Title Association spoke with representatives for the governor on Sunday, advocating for a blanket waiver for real estate services in order to provide better clarity for the confused marketplace.

PAR’s legal hotline continues to receive practice related questions primarily around open houses and direct contact with clients and customers. At this time, to comply with the governor’s closure order issued to mitigate the spread of the coronavirus, Realtors® should stop offering in-person real estate services and should only offer services that can be done remotely without in-person, physical interaction. Brokers should consult with brokerage counsel on how to keep their business in compliance with the governor’s order, and with questions about whether specific services are or are not in compliance with the order.

The Pennsylvania State Police announced enforcement officers are prepared to ensure compliance with the COVID-19 pandemic restrictions beginning at 8 a.m. today. Private businesses, organizations and other noncompliant entities face possible criminal penalties. Both violations are summary offenses punishable by fines, jail time and additional administrative penalties under certain circumstances.

The Pennsylvania State Police Commissioner Colonel Robert Evanchick stated, “We believe most Pennsylvanians want to act responsibly and do their part to help slow the spread of this deadly virus. Troopers and liquor control officers will make every effort to achieve voluntary compliance by educating business owners and using discretion when appropriate. But our message is clear: COVID-19 is a serious health and public safety risk that requires an extraordinary response from law enforcement and the public. I urge everyone to stay home, stay calm, and stay safe.”

Your PAR leaders and staff continue to advocate on your behalf. While the safety of all Pennsylvanians is their top priority, they are also very in tune with your business issues and your need for clarity. We will be constantly discussing issues with the governor’s representatives, the legislature and key members of the real estate community to provide necessary guidance.

For the most up-to-date information, be sure to continue to visit PARealtors.org/coronavirus for answers to the most pressing questions.

Is the Pandemic Driving More People to the Suburbs?

“We see lingering effects of the coronavirus on shopping behavior and preferences. In the Northeast, especially, people are now as likely as before the pandemic to be looking for a home in a market that’s not where they currently live. However, those looking elsewhere are much more likely to be looking in smaller, nearby markets,” said realtor.com® Chief Economist Danielle Hale.

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Comments (44)

Comments

  • John Bell   March 23, 2020 at 1:48 pm

    If Mortgage Companies and Title Companies are allowed to do Business.Why not Real Estate Companies.

    Reply to John Bell
  • David Sites   March 23, 2020 at 1:53 pm

    Why can’t I meet one on one with clients usually two at most
    While hundreds infect us At Walmart

    Reply to David Sites
  • John Caporale   March 23, 2020 at 1:55 pm

    This business as usual with precautions is ridiculous. Anyone showing homes, dealing directly with clients, posting new listings, or most of all, scheduling open houses, should be fined and or jailed!posting new listings, and most of all, having open houuses, should be fined and or jailed!

    Reply to John Caporale
  • Janet Ewing Merriman   March 23, 2020 at 1:57 pm

    Notaries in person for real estate closings?

    Reply to Janet Ewing Merriman
  • VAV VAVRECK   March 23, 2020 at 1:58 pm

    If showings are banned under the governors ruling why is BRIGHT MLS still allowing showings?

    Reply to VAV VAVRECK
  • Susan Mangigian   March 23, 2020 at 1:58 pm

    The language is not strong enough to ensure agents STOP SHOWING HOUSES.

    Reply to Susan Mangigian
  • Barbara J Sudell   March 23, 2020 at 2:02 pm

    What are we supposed to do for settlements? We need to do the conveyancing to make sure that everything is done.

    Reply to Barbara J Sudell
  • Randy Hughes   March 23, 2020 at 2:04 pm

    What about continuing ed classes. I paid for classes and now they are postponed. Is there going to be an extension of time to take these? I think State Police have more important things to do than check on business owners. Is PA turning into a police state and sending the Gestapo?

    Reply to Randy Hughes
    • Kelly Leighton   March 23, 2020 at 3:15 pm

      Hi Randy – PAR has been in communication with the State Real Estate Commission and Bureau of Professional and Occupational Affairs. We anticipate an announcement from them in the coming day regarding Continuing Education.

      Reply to Kelly Leighton
  • Maureen Ingelsby   March 23, 2020 at 2:06 pm

    I have a contractor doing some add jobs in a vacant home that has been vacant for quite some time tomorrow 3/24 in the morning,as well as a cleaning company that is vacuuming,washing down kitchens and baths,etc. Is that ok?

    Reply to Maureen Ingelsby
  • Raymond Malgieri   March 23, 2020 at 2:09 pm

    MY office is closed. Are we aloud to go into the office and work

    Reply to Raymond Malgieri
  • MARY curtis   March 23, 2020 at 2:11 pm

    I assume that this applies to appraisers too! There still is no data for appraisers.

    Reply to MARY curtis
    • Hank Lerner, Esq.   March 23, 2020 at 3:45 pm

      Mary:
      FHFA ordered Fannie Mae and Freddie Mac to expand appraisal requirements today. As previously noted, in-person appraisals are likely not permissible, but once these new guidelines are issued they’d allow appraisers more flexibility – at least for these specific loans. Our landing page has been updated with that information and links.

      Reply to Hank Lerner, Esq.
  • Aurelis Figueroa   March 23, 2020 at 2:16 pm

    Thank you for moving swiftly! I hope the Governor hears our cry! I understand the procedures he has taken for our safety but, we also need relief quickly just as a employee. It feels like small business and the self employed were forgotten! Again, thank you for your work!

    Reply to Aurelis Figueroa
  • MATTHEW CASARIN   March 23, 2020 at 2:26 pm

    Do Real Estate Appraisers Fall Under Real Estate Practice? So I be inspecting interior homes and business?

    Reply to MATTHEW CASARIN
  • Steve Westbrook   March 23, 2020 at 2:27 pm

    Nothing here about appraisers. AMC’s are pushing us to continue to work. Some direction would be nice.

    Reply to Steve Westbrook
  • Jim Kelly   March 23, 2020 at 2:27 pm

    Can we apply for unemployment since the governor is stopping us from working?

    Reply to Jim Kelly
  • Joseph D’Alonzo   March 23, 2020 at 2:39 pm

    You should force the MLS to go off-line so all real estate agents cannot perform any activities otherwise some will and some won’t.

    Reply to Joseph D’Alonzo
  • Tim Coleman   March 23, 2020 at 2:40 pm

    Is it ok to show vacant homes? Wth no contact with our clients.?

    Reply to Tim Coleman
  • Kimberly Mearkle   March 23, 2020 at 2:40 pm

    Thanks for the information, it is a very confusing time for alot of businesses.

    Reply to Kimberly Mearkle
  • SCOTT HARRITY, BROKER/OWNER BUY & SELL & SAVE REALTY LLC   March 23, 2020 at 2:41 pm

    PLEASE TELL ME IF I CAN CANVASS WITH ONE OF MY AGENTS IN NEIGHBORHOODS, RINGING DOOR BELL, STEPPING BACK WELL PAST THE 6 FOOT BUT ACTUALLY 10 FOOT OR MORE, IN THE YARD’S EDGE TO THE PORCH, ASKING HOMEOWNERS IF THEY COULD USE, OR KNOW SOMEONE WHO COULD USE OUR SERVICES, AND WOULD LIKE TO HAVE US VISIT THEM, ONCE THE VIRUS IS ABATED , AND ANY RESTRICTIONS TO ENTRY INTO THEIR HOME, AND CLOSER CONTACT, CAN BE ACCOMPLISHED.

    Reply to SCOTT HARRITY, BROKER/OWNER BUY & SELL & SAVE REALTY LLC
  • Christopher Carroll   March 23, 2020 at 2:42 pm

    Will the continuing education deadline be extended? We have more classtime required for renewal

    Reply to Christopher Carroll
    • Kevin Juliano   March 23, 2020 at 2:56 pm

      Hi Christopher – PAR has been in communication with the State Real Estate Commission and Bureau of Professional and Occupational Affairs. We anticipate an announcement from them in the coming days.

      Reply to Kevin Juliano
  • Tom Krajcirovic   March 23, 2020 at 2:56 pm

    Thank you very much for the clarification.

    Reply to Tom Krajcirovic
  • Alicia   March 23, 2020 at 3:04 pm

    Virtual notarizations should be allowed from PA governor order during such crisis (same as NY state). Some people have their closing soon and would become homeless if not able to close on their settlement. Can PAR please communicate this matter as a life-sustaining situation for some PA residents.

    Reply to Alicia
  • Kathy Paone   March 23, 2020 at 3:08 pm

    Good Afternoon,
    Naturally the physical practice of home sales is not normally life and death for client physical health – And we would never compare what we do with the immense job being done by our healthcare workforce of doctors, nurses and all support staff!! However, there are instances where a person or family has an urgent need to relocate, cancel a contract, physically leave a bad or dangerous relationship etc. Elderly people still die under normal circumstances as an often painful part of our circles of life and families grieve but still need to close the details of estates. This sometimes involves urgent property sales. Unless local townships are willing to forgo taxes on these homes it is left to the families to continue to pay these debts when normally the properties would be placed onto the market. Video showings can help, however eventually a buyer would want to physically visit the property. And to have the property inspected. There are also many small businesses that may need to sell a property as well – At the same time, we need to severely limit the spread of COVID19. If we limit client property visits to one per day? Zero open houses. Provide the video walkthroughs. Just some ideas with truly best wishes for everyone’s continued safety, and with the mindset that we are all potential carriers and need to protect clients from any real contact – right now this is a suggestion for how we can serve our neediest clients in the safest way. Thanks and take care!

    Reply to Kathy Paone
  • Anne Sherman   March 23, 2020 at 3:12 pm

    Are our clients permitted to move (whether buying or leasing a new property) or do they need to postpone moving dates after 8 pm today?

    Reply to Anne Sherman
  • Coleen Katz   March 23, 2020 at 3:16 pm

    They cancelled all of the continuing ed classes until after April 13th.

    Reply to Coleen Katz
  • Coleen Katz   March 23, 2020 at 3:19 pm

    What are real estate agents so ridiculous? NO canvassing! NO showings! NO open houses! NO! NO! NO! The reason you can have settlements is that there are legal deadlines to those. That’s why. There is no legal deadline to a showing or open house.

    Reply to Coleen Katz
  • Aliceh   March 23, 2020 at 3:28 pm

    To Joseoh D’Alonzo you have the best Commet
    Make MLS go OFF LINE. That is the only to stop the listings and showings otherwise Post the names of the people offending this.
    The public Needs to Know who they are.

    Reply to Aliceh
  • ROY L. SUTER   March 23, 2020 at 3:35 pm

    Its hard to believe how selfish this profession has become . We should be leading our communities in this fight against this deadly virus instead of trying to find ways around the law for a brief monetary gain . Suspensions from associations and licenses for ALL real estate associated businesses should be issued for violators of the governors order .

    Reply to ROY L. SUTER
  • Darwyn Benedict   March 23, 2020 at 3:50 pm

    Thanks PAR Staff and Officers for all the time spent on this issue of the last 4 days of stop RE work order.
    Reading some of these REPLIES so far has me really concerned.
    We are independent contractors and for those that are not Brokers, they should be discussing most of this with their Broker. Brokers are ultimately responsible for their licensees, not PAR.
    The appraisers are all individual licensed by the State, I believe they are part of the RE stop order.
    May we all be safe and help others when they need help.

    Reply to Darwyn Benedict
  • Karin negron caraballo   March 23, 2020 at 4:05 pm

    It is hard for us real estate agents and small businesses to go thru this difficult time especially if u are not fully prepared they are figuring ways for you to close your days that already were closing in the next 2 weeks my title company and loan officer figured a way but I can’t be present now as far as my other offers and settlement dates I just used the corona addendum to extend dates as far as inspections and appraisals of need be sellers and buyers are being very mindful and understanding maybe we should be too that it is out of our hands

    Reply to Karin negron caraballo
  • Dave   March 23, 2020 at 5:34 pm

    lt to make a concrete statment but in these times I think PAR and the locals need to be on the same page. Yoou should interpt the gobvenor oorder and provide solid advise or instructions. In your las post it state the follwoing ‘At this time, to comply with the governor’s closure order issued to mitigate the spread of the coronavirus, Realtors® should stop offering in-person real estate services and should only offer services that can be done remotely without in-person, physical interaction.” The use of the word “should” allows me as an agent to say ok well I guess I can do this or that. Please make a clear unambiguous state,mnt like -“No showing” No Open Houses”. “NO Listing Appointments” under any conditions or if they are permitted under cutian curcumstances such as Vancant properties thaen state so. This does not need to be complicated, but noone really wants to say what needs to be said. These are very difficult times for everyone so with some clear and consise instructionss we can like it or not but at least come to grips with it and plan. Becasue right now everyopne is all over the board and the playing field is not level for our clients and our clients are what is important. If we take care of our clients they will take care of us.

    Reply to Dave
  • Michael Murphy   March 23, 2020 at 6:12 pm

    stop showing home just relax for 14 days and the virus will burn out omg take a vactiosn for 2 weeks if not many more americans will di becasue you want to show home adn list homes and do opne hosue insane if you care about your neighborhoods stop being

    Reply to Michael Murphy
  • Michael Murphy   March 23, 2020 at 6:13 pm

    very true

    Reply to Michael Murphy
  • Chris   March 23, 2020 at 6:49 pm

    Is there any reason I cannot check out houses for an investor client, FaceTime them, and put offers in?

    Reply to Chris
  • David Feldman   March 23, 2020 at 9:01 pm

    Is PAR in discussion with Bright about the rule requiring “coming soon” properties to be active and allow showings after 21 days? This would seem in conflict with the Governor’s orders, unless all the “coming soon” listings are “temporarily off market”, making it hard for consumers (buyers) at home searching online while they can’t physically go see properties.

    Reply to David Feldman
  • David Stull   March 23, 2020 at 10:14 pm

    We manage 60 rentals, Scattered site, We decided only emergency repairs and tenants need to vacate while work is being done.No showings on rent ups vacant or not.Lease signing must be remote and out of office, We are closed to everybody.
    David

    Reply to David Stull
  • David Feldman   March 23, 2020 at 10:24 pm

    Can PA require lenders on PA closings to extend rate locks? Or does that have to happen at the national level?

    Reply to David Feldman
  • Deb   March 24, 2020 at 1:28 pm

    I understand the seriousness of this virus. Since we can’t get unemployment what are we entitled to. We live with no money coming in they need to compensate us somehow since we can’t show or sell houses.

    Reply to Deb
  • Chris Somers   March 24, 2020 at 11:23 pm

    I applaud GPAR and PAR for getting info out as fast as possible. Lots of questions remain but everyone can still be productive. Had a 10 hour day today

    Reply to Chris Somers
  • Terry   March 25, 2020 at 8:30 am

    Agree with Deb and Jim Kelly regarding unemployment comp of some form for real estate agents.

    Reply to Terry

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